Some members have contacted the SJA expressing concern that Football DataCo, the organisation that administers the central accreditation system for Premier League and Football League matches, has altered the detail of its requirements for the new season, specifically on identity cards for photographers.
The SJA can confirm that no changes have been made to the agreement between the football bodies and media, led by the Newspaper Publishers’ Association and involving the SJA.
David Smith, of Insport, was one correspondent. He wrote: “Football DataCo has sent an e-mail to all clubs, Premier League and Football League, telling them to accept the AIPS card from journalists but not from photographers. Are we not all one?”
The answer, of course, is “Yes”.
The confusion has arisen because of some clumsy drafting of the DataCo’s e-mail in the section where it explained which ID cards are acceptable:
On match days you will be expected to prove your identity by showing a valid ID card. In future, not showing a valid ID card will result in your being refused access to the clubâ€™s media facilities.
The Football League and its clubs accept four types of ID card:
1) The Football League ID card
2) The UK Press Card
3) The AIPS card (journalists only)
4) The Sky Card (Sky employees only)
The system still requires all reporters and photographers – or their employers – to have a licence with Football DataCo, and to book their attendance at any given fixture with the press office of the club in question. At presents, the SJA suggests that its members do not apply to take out Football League ID cards.
Membership cards for AIPS, the international sports press association, continue to be accepted, especially for non-UK based writers and photographers who require to attend a football match in this country, but who will not have a season-long licence.
Keir Radnedge, who was involved in the negotiations, writes: “The AIPS card continues to be a valid identity confirmation document for professional football in England this coming season along with the other gatekeeper cards under the UK Press Card Authority umbrella.
“In addition, for foreign-based (ie non-UK resident) writers, the AIPS card continues to be accepted as a guarantee of bona fides in satisfying the football bodies about the holder and his or her publication fulfilling the public liability insurance demands of a match licence.
“This maintains the status quo.
“No press card, of course, guarantees entry to a match. Ultimate responsibility for allocation of press access remains with a club’s media officer.”
If any SJA member experiences unreasonable difficulties in obtaining access to a football match, despite having a valid licence and press card, we recommend that you contact Football DataCo – details below – and that you copy your correspondence to the SJA’s Steven Downes.
Football DataCo Ltd can be contacted via e-mail accreditations@footballâ€“dataco.com or Tel: +44 (0) 20 7864 9163 or +44 (0) 20 7864 9121.
In the event of a specialised request contact Derek Johnston, Media Accreditation & Licensing Manager who can be reached on +44 (0) 7802 266 660
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